An Interview with Kat Hill

May 2020

Kat Hill is not only an international BJJ champion but also a successful academic, teaching and writing in London. Training out of Carlson Gracie HQ she has many accolades to her name. Recently for International Women’s Day she wrote some of her story for Women Who Fight, as we celebrated women’s true stories and the journey’s they have been on. We found her story profound, her struggle with depression and how she copes, the turning points, the lows and highs. We thought it was important and followed up with an interview to show how invisible this illness can be to those outside it. Please be aware that it focuses on sensitive issues which may be inappropriate for some viewers.

From Kat:

“In my professional life, I am an academic, a lecturer in history at Birkbeck College, University of London. I did my Undergrad, Masters and PhD at Oxford and then a postdoctoral research fellowship also at Oxford. I specialise in global histories of religion from 1550 to the present day and when I am not teaching students, I am in archives all over the world, writing and publishing books and articles, and presenting at international conferences. I have been very lucky so far to have a successful academic career. I authored a prizewinning book, I have just won a million-pound Leverhulme Research Leadership award and been awarded a fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton. I have done other jobs too, having worked in the City for a year and taught in a secondary school.

In my spare time, my life has been dominated by BJJ for the last 10 years. I have won numerous British and National titles at every belt, won medals at the Worlds and Pan Ams at blue, purple and brown, and then won a European title at black belt Master 1. I also have taught BJJ for a long time. When teaching history at Latymer Upper, I got BJJ on the school curriculum there with Carlson Gracie London, I founded a BJJ gym in Oxford and also acted as CEO and one of the founders of the NGB for BJJ, the UKBJJA. But I have done and still do other things – I played piano for 15 years, I am a pretty decent chess player and I danced and acted for 16 years, and still love theatre and the arts. I also volunteer in my spare time with various charities.”